NEW DELHI: The court-appointed mediation panel on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court about achieving a groundbreaking settlement to the vexed dispute over the 2.77-acre Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land in Ayodhya under which the Muslim parties have agreed to give up their claim on the land for the construction of the Ram temple.
Parties who signed the settlement were the Sunni waqf board, the Nirvani Akhara, a representative of Nirmohi Ani (parent body of all eight Nirmohi Akharas), the Hindu Mahasabha and the Ram Janmasthan Punarudhar Samiti, sources told TOI.
The settlement, while seeking to facilitate a Ram temple, also seeks strict implementation of the 1991 law that lays down status quo for all places of worship that existed on August 15, 1947, repair of all other mosques in Ayodhya and, importantly, construction of a mosque at an alternative site by the waqf board.
Hindu Mahasabha’s lawyer Vikas Singh was showing a map claiming to locate where Lord Ram is believed to have been born. But, he ran into stiff resistance from Muslim parties’ lawyer Rajeev Dhavan who doubted its veracity. The CJI told Dhavan, “Since the Hindu party is not relying on the map, and if you find it irrelevant…you can tear it off.” And Dhawan did.
However, two main stakeholders – VHP-backed Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas and Ram Lalla deity through next friend (suit filed by the deity includes Nyas as one of the plaintiffs), and a faction of Jamiat Ulema – did not participate in the negotiations.
The sources said since the Muslim parties have agreed to give up their claim on the disputed land and agreed to allow the construction of Ram temple, the Nyas would find it difficult not to accept this settlement as this is the best they could get from the Supreme Court if it decides to rule in their favour.
Just two days back, the SC had ordered the UP government to provide adequate security to Sunni waqf board chairman Zufar Ahmed Farooqi on being informed by one of the SC-appointed mediators, Sriram Panchu, that Farooqi has received a threat to his life. The points of settlement are:
- Implementation in letter and spirit of Places of Worship (Special Provision) Act, 1991, which prohibits conversion of any place of worship and to provide for maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. This act does not apply to the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute.